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Prof. Dr.-Ing. (em.) Manfred Bonatz †


Prof. Dr.-Ing. (em.) Manfred Bonatz

It is with great sadness that we inform about the passing of our retired colleague professor Manfred Bonatz on December 2, 2018. Manfred Bonatz served at the IGG and its predecessor institute ITG since 1961 as a teacher, researcher and later, professor for gravimetric geodesy. He retired in 1997 from university but continued to teach for another ten years and to work in gravimetry and Earth tide observation until very recently.

After graduating 1957 in geodesy at Bonn University, completing a traineeship as a state surveyor and working on some short-term employments, Manfred Bonatz  went back to academia and began his research career as a scientific assistant of Prof. Helmut Wolf at the Institute of Theoretical Geodesy of the University of Bonn. He obtained his PhD on calibrating registrating gravimeters in 1965. He went on to work on Earth tides, and developed and refined torsion balance and pendulum instruments for geodetic and geodynamic research. During this time, Manfred Bonatz established several Earth tide observatories and went on scientific expeditions, e.g. to the Kerguelen islands. In 1969, with Prof. Paul Melchior, he installed tiltmeters, gravimeters and a satellite camera in Svalbard (Spitzbergen) and observed during the arctic winter. He completed his habilitation in 1969, was awarded the prestiguous Pulfrich-Award in 1970 for his ingeniuos and skillful work on constructing scientific instruments, and was promoted to professor in 1971. His work was internationally recognized e.g. through the medal of merit of the Belgian society of astronomy, meteorology and geophysics, or the order of merit conferred by the grand-duchy Luxembourg for his service as the president of the European Center of Geodynamics and Seismology.

Manfred Bonatz authored about 160 publications, and many colleagues know him through the Journées Luxembourgeoises de Géodynamique” (JLG) which he organized for many years. He taught geodesy and gravimetry in Bonn for most of his career and supervised about 15 PhD theses.

We will deeply miss him, as a colleague, friend and teacher. Our thoughts are with his wife and two childred.